Friday, July 11, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Why Nash is a long shot

UPDATE: Eric Wellwood’s stay in Adirondack was a short one.

Why Nash is a long shot

Forward Rick Nash tallied 18 goals and 21 assists for the Blue Jackets this season. (Terry Gilliam/AP)
Forward Rick Nash tallied 18 goals and 21 assists for the Blue Jackets this season. (Terry Gilliam/AP)

UPDATE: Eric Wellwood’s stay in Adirondack was a short one.

After heading back to Glens Falls, N.Y., on Monday following Sunday’s loss in Detroit, Wellwood was re-called by the Flyers this morning.

He will likely skate on the Flyers’ third line tonight against Buffalo, as the Flyers take on a Sabres team that is a nail or two away from a closed casket display at the First Niagara Center in April.

Peter Laviolette said it best on Wednesday when he noted the Flyers were short on bodies.

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Wellwood, playing in his 6th career NHL game, will replace Jake Voracek as he did on Sunday in Detroit. Voracek skated in a non-contact jersey on Wednesday, still suffering from an “upper-body” injury that Paul Holmgren said is "below the neck." Voracek suffered that injury in last Saturday’s loss to the Rangers; this will be his second straight game out of the lineup.

Voracek was one of 7 players who had skated in every game this season for the Flyers.

Jaromir Jagr, who turned 40 on Wednesday, appears to remain in the lineup despite flu-like symptoms. Jagr has just 10 points in his last 19 games after starting the season with 29 in 29. He’s scored just 1 goal since that dazzling display in Pittsburgh back on Dec. 29.

Zac Rinaldo will serve the first of his two game suspension against Buffalo. He is eligible to return to the lineup on Feb. 21 in Winnipeg. Jody Shelley will replace him on the fourth line.

James van Riemsdyk is expected to miss his 15th straight game tonight. He remains on the injured reserve. Despite changing to a regular jersey in practice on Wednesday, van Riemsdyk said through a team spokesman that he feels no better, and Holmgren said his “out indefinitely” status has not changed.

NASH RUMORS HEATING UP: The rumors swirling around Columbus captain Rick Nash have been hot for days, since a Columbus Dispatch report on Monday confirmed that the Blue Jackets’ brass is open to offers for their franchise’s only star player.

We’ve yet to address those rumors here, despite the Flyers being installed as an early favorite, because they don’t seem to make much sense.

The Flyers have the cap space for an acquisition of approximately $4.9 million before the Feb. 27 trade deadline. They could afford up to $6.8 million in acquisition space, according to our friends at CapGeek.com, depending on their AHL demotion choices. Nash’s cap hit is $7.8 million through 2017-18.

Do the Flyers have the pieces to get it done? Sure they do. Few teams have the NHL-ready young talent that the Flyers can offer, with names like Sean Couturier (the pick used from Columbus in the Jeff Carter deal), Matt Read, Brayden Schenn, and even James van Riemsdyk.

The name Columbus would probably most be interested in is Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Flyers could always plug their backup hole with Michael Leighton for the remainder of the season, behind Ilya Bryzgalov, and actually save $250,000 on the salary cap.

But moving any one of those names would seem to go against the exact nature of the Flyers' moves last summer, in which they traded away a few big name pieces - and saddled Columbus with one of them - to try and get younger. Their team now is setup like a puzzle that can be arranged in many different ways and still fit together. It wasn't that way last season.

Plus, offense isn’t exactly what the Flyers need. They’re already second in the league in scoring this season. It’s their defense and goaltending that have prevented them from playing like a top contender. We laid out many of these issues in Tuesday’s column.

That still doesn’t prevent the Flyers from being listed by many as the dark horse in the Nash rumors.

Take, for instance, a story from CBC’s Elliotte Friedman – who has impeccable sources. After the Rangers and Maple Leafs, many consider the Flyers:

“There are a lot of teams who think this has Flyers written all over it. They've got a young goalie.”

Look, I’m not pouring water on the fire. I just think the Flyers are a long shot in this race. Much longer than the 6-1 odds they’ve been given to land Nash. And I'm not even sold that Nash, who has a no-movement clause and would need to approve any trade, will be dealt before the deadline. Scott Howson doesn't have the option to bungle this deal like he did with Carter. The life of the Columbus franchise literally hinges upon a home run deal.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

About this blog
Frequent Flyers is your home for news and analysis of all things orange and black. Reach Frank at seravaf@phillynews.com.

Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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